25 “Seed/Straw” 1992 Thick Paper
200 “Seed/Straw” 1992 Thick Paper
300 “Seed/Straw” 1992 Thick Paper
500 “Seed/Straw” 1992 Thick Paper
1,000 “Seed/Straw” 1992 Thick Paper
5,000 “Seed/Straw” 1992 Thick Paper
10,000 “Seed/Straw” 1992 Thick Paper
15,000 “Seed/Straw” 1992 Thick Paper
25,000 “Seed/Straw” 1992 Thick Paper
50,000 “Seed/Straw” 1992 Thick Paper
100,000 “Seed/Straw” 1992 Thick Paper


6.16 gram Farmer’s Coin Copper Punch Coin Flower
6.16 gram Herder’s Coin Copper Punch Coin Goat
8.5 gram Farmer’s Coin Copper Punch Coin Leaf
8.5 gram Herder’s Coin Copper Punch Coin Cow


 punch coin 001rural farmers and herders 001

(click image for larger view)

A primitive people in a raw land that time forgot

                                                                                                                J. Palmeros, 1968
There's just something about a major discovery that makes man's accomplishments pale. We send men to the moon, spaceships to other planets, make discoveries of new species in our oceans, but sometimes it is what is on the land, amid all the known features that astounds us most. Especially when it's just under our noses the whole time. The Territory of Rural Herders and Farmers is such a discovery.

For centuries The Territory of Rural Herders and Farmers has been unknown to the world. Even our spy satellites and aircraft never bothered to look. Everyone knew there was nothing there. No people on that land mass, they figured, never giving a second look.

The Territory of Rural Herders and Farmers appears a rugged, harsh place. It's rugged rocky mountains and hills along the shore shelter some grass covered interior hills and small valleys with spring-fed rivers. The soil is not evenly dispersed leading to arid areas and green areas on the island. Many caves dot the rocky outcroppings. There are very few trees.

Indeed, from the shoreline, The Territory of Rural Herders and Farmers is a desolate stretch of land surrounded by miles of ocean. Those that have come across the island said there was no human life there. Little did they know, those people were hiding, scared of the people from the sea.

The island enjoys a rather dry but warm climate. Temperatures do not dip below 65 degrees nor rise above 80 degrees F. through the year. Rainfall ranges from about 2 to 10 inches a year, mostly coming in short showers. Winds are usually fresh (about 10 to 20 miles per hour during most of the year).

It was the 1300s when the first people inhabited the island, it is believed. They lived in caves, fished by hand from the shore and gathered what little edible plants that grow. Add in a scattered goat or two, probably from a passing vessel.

To say The Territory of Rural Herders and Farmers is still in the 1300s is accurate. When discovered in 1968, the people of The Territory of Rural Herders and Farmers did not wear much clothing, lived in tents and caves and collected and gathered food from plots of land they planted and tended livestock as their relatives have done for centuries. Living in small clusters, they migrate around the island coming in contact with other small groups.

These are a nomadic, pastoral people. Some farm small plots of land near water, owning as many as 15 to 20 such plots. During the growing season they travel from one plot to another tending to the plantings by hand. During the winter, they move plot to plot getting each parcel ready for the next year. The herders, also nomadic, take their livestock from one pasture to another through the year and each family might own many particular pastures.

The people are known for their fair skin, light colored hair and eyes and slender frame. They are a bit taller than average. It has been noted they are a very attractive people.

The people have their own distinct culture, language and religion.

The language is made up of only 4 consonants and 4 vowels. It is a simple language spoken by all on the island. There are thought to be some 1,500 to 1,800 words in the language. The language, never written until 1992, does not resemble any area language, mystifying researchers.

The religion respects the sea, sky and land. In fact, the sea can give food or take people away. The oral history talks of a sea jealous of the land. It will take people and never allow them to return. The sky at night gives those who have passed on the opportunity to show they are well by giving off light (aka, the stars). It is believed the ancestors watch those on the island and can cause the sky to become angry when the wrongdoings of the people must be atoned.

The islanders enjoy singing and dancing. When other islanders meet, they sing to one another, then join for a feast, singing and dancing.

Clothing is considered both evil and spiritual, depending on the circumstance. The islanders think those not from the island are spirits from other worlds. It is thought that the beings must cover themselves to conceal their evil attributes. Those who come from the sea are viewed with fear. The thinking is that while some in antiquity have taken to the water never to return, the sea has taken them as a slave and is always hungry for more people. Anyone coming from the sea would be a spirit clothed as a human seeking to take people to the sea to be lost forever. The same would probably be the same for those arriving by aircraft.


Few would argue that The Territory of Rural Herders and Farmers has an almost elusive Government. In respect to today's world, it is among the most primitive on earth.

Because of a quest for one-upmanship between the farmers and herders, a form of Government has evolved that strikes a happy medium, giving both control.

The Territory of Rural Herders and Farmers evolved a government on the need for equality and fairness in trade. The need to keep livestock from grazing on the farmland, rules needed to be set in place. Each group wanted to dominate the other. The balancing of power was achieved by allowing the farmers and herders to each take a turn at ruling the land each year.

The planting and growing season is ruled by the farmers while the winter months are ruled by the herders. This struck a happy medium as farmers needed the protection from herders during the growing season and herders needed better access to grazing during winter months.

In society, the woman is considered the wiser of the sexes with greater wisdom. The woman is known for her thirst for fairness and justice. Thus, each group, the farmers and the herders, each year select a Queen to be the absolute ruler of the land for their 'season'.

There are no dates specified for each ruling Queen. The farmer's Queen, the Queen of Summer, would rule from the time the growing season began until the harvest was complete. Then the herder's Queen, or Winter Queen, would rule until the next growing season.

In each instance, the Queen is decided upon by her people through general consensus and is thought to have an almost mystical insight. She rules as the absolute authority.

The Queen would not be easily identified by an outsider. In society, it would be a weakness for the Queen to attempt to elevate herself above the rest of the people or to act superior in any way. She is expected to be the same as those she rules over. In short, what makes her different is only that she is respected for her decision-making abilities, 'pureness of heart' and 'thirst for justice and fairness'. Her ability to show mercy is noted as well.

Among her duties are judging any infractions between parties and the setting of prices for products. This is never as clear-cut as it sounds, but for example, a good harvest means a lower price for harvested goods and in good grazing, high birth years, a lower price for meat, milk and cheese. Someone charging a high price that is unfair can be brought to the Queen for a judgment.
The Queen is also a third party to agreements made. For example, if crops are traded for meat once an animal is slaughtered, she might offer clarity to the agreement which both parties agree to hold as the absolute authority.

The Queen travels with her family throughout the year. Her life differs little from those she rules over. To act in any other way is an insult to her title.

A Queen is selected by the opinion of the people. There are no age requirement or any certain qualifications. The female who shows the greatest wisdom and understanding of fairness and justice, tempered with mercy, is generally selected from a pool of candidates. Many times an outgoing Queen will ask potential candidates to determine decisions in order to find an acceptable replacement.

With no firm rules, a Queen may be selected to rule as frequently as asked by the people. The Queen might be a young adult or an elderly woman or of any age.

The choice to rule as Queen is not one made by the potential Queen. A female is simply selected as a candidate by the people, tested and if found fit, must serve. To refuse her people would be an insult.


The Territory of Rural Herders and Farmers has a simplistic pastoral nomadic lifestyle. Generally extended families move along the same route seasonally, moving spot to spot, living in tents.

At times paths cross and plans are put on hold for a day or two as two groups eat, socialize, dance, sing and trade among one another. It is a time of celebration.

At the end of the harvest, a gathering begins. It normally takes place over several weeks with families coming and going. Most families try to maximize the time they spend at the gathering, moving on only when farming or herding obligations dictate. Each gathering lasts 4 to 6 weeks.
The gathering location is always around a river with plenty of grazing nearby. This drops possible locations to just 3 locales.

The gathering starts at the harvest as families gather nature's bounty and move to the gathering location. Herders converge on the gathering as well.

As the winter ends and the growing season begins, another gathering, about as lengthy as the harvest gathering begins.

It is during these gatherings that the outgoing Queen is called upon to resolve any infractions that did not require immediate attention, shore up any agreements made during the reign and determine with the incoming Queen the prices for goods for the coming months.

It is also the time the next Queen is selected to rule over the coming months.

The gatherings are the highlight of the year or season. Everyone is in a festive mood following months of work and relative isolation. Men gather to talk and help one another. Women do the same. Children play together and young adults congregate and often pair off to a remote location in the countryside.

The gathering becomes a giant marketplace as trading is brisk as each family trades what they have produced with others to supplement their life and diet over the next several months.
Nightly bonfires dot the terrain as people assemble to tell stories, sing, dance, eat and socialize. A general feel of merriment prevails in an otherwise uneventful life.

The Territory of Rural Herders and Farmers does not enjoy the typical services as other nations.
There are no roads, no cars, no electricity, plumbing and such. There is simply no need for such. These are people who roam the island, living in tents and caves. Such modern inventions have no place in their daily lives.

There is virtually no actual functioning government here. With few offices and few planned activities, one might say such a government is elusive.

There are no schools. Even so, children, both girls and boys, are taught the history of the people and how to read and write in their language. Special attention is given to teaching how to farm, herd and tend to a family's needs with hands-on experience for children.

Once they have demonstrated a working knowledge, are mentally ready and passed on through puberty, a girl or boy may pass in to adulthood by choosing a mate and setting up their own property. The time between adulthood and marriage is generally a few years as families encourage their children to make such decisions only after getting to know many other people. The average age for marriage is 15 or 16 years of age.

Typically after all children have reached adulthood, marriage and have children, the parents surrender their land holdings to the children and somewhat retire, living alternately with the children. Generally, the offspring with the greatest need is the one the parents travel with.

Recent Reports

Scholars and Scientists have visited The Territory of Rural Herders and Farmers since the people were first discovered in 1968. Few have had much success in reaching the people and collecting research. The culture has created a barrier for research and created somewhat of a danger for such research parties. Thus, there has been little funding to support more research.

Only J. Palmeos, a Russian from Karelia and party has had success through very time consuming ventures to the territory. Palmeros' party spent 18 months on the island working to build the trust of the people. This was done through adopting their way of life and attempting to learn their language. Even so, the level of success is not what was hoped for. A full understanding of the society is still not known although for almost 40 years, Palmeros' group has spent 16 years with the people since 1968. Palmeros, now about 60 years of age, is still working with the people of this forgotten land.

Recent attempts at a functioning, stationary government happened first in 1992 with it's collapse in 1995. Since that time the traditional form of government has returned.


The first attempt at a currency based on the herding and farm values was tied to the ruble at 25 to 1 ruble. The currency was artificially inflated and quickly dropped in value. By the end of 1994, the value of the currency, roughly translated as both the 'seed' and the 'straw' bottomed out at about 200,000 to the US dollar. The currency is now based on the surplus of goods produced.
There was talk of revaluating the old currency at 100,000 old to 1 new seed. We do not know if this plan was acted upon.

The 1992 currency was issued in 11 denominations, each depicting a well loved Queen by the name of Kipemi, who served her people for some 20 years and the first Queen to be selected by both the Herders and Farmers because of her wisdom and mercy. The depiction is identical to the only postage stamp issued by the country.

Currency seems to have a hard time catching on as barter has always been the rule for the population. In fact, it would be fair to say much of the currency printed was never circulated for this reason.

Additionally, some coinage has been noted. These are few in number and resemble more ancient coinage, utilizing various symbols. With no lettering to depict the territory and so few found, it has been pondered if these are from years past or currently circulating coinage. We do know these coins are in copper and come in two weights: about 6.16 and 8.5 grams or roughly 1/5th and 1/4th of an ounce of copper. It seems each Queen issued coins. Two coins of differing weight show a cow while the remaining two have only emblems. They are not dated with a linear design on the reverse which may or may not be symbolic.

Palmeros, in a more recent record of a visit stated the current long-reigning leader of the herders wants to move toward a cash economy, reasoning there are too many squabbles over the barter system that roll over to the next transaction. She feels the exchange of money will make the transactions less personal and minimize 'hurt feelings'. At this point, there is no word on how the project is progressing. For certain, it is a tall hill to climb as the barter system has been in place for generations.

compiled by Bill Turner 2007 updated in 2008

Members Area

Featured Products

Recent Photos